Does your sex toy phone home?
I know, a strange question, right?
If you don’t use a technological device inserted into your body to get off, then you have nothing to worry about, but if you use the We-Vibe 4 Plus, it’s a whole other matter.
I found an article at Fusion.net called This sex toy tells the manufacturer every time you use it.
According to the story, the device is…
a rubbery clamp that looks a little like the oversized thumb and forefinger of a Disneyland character pinching down. It comes in black, purple or pink and is billed as the “number one couple’s vibrator.” It has Bluetooth so that, once inserted into the desired part of your body, you can connect it to your smartphone and then use the We-Vibe app to control the intensity of its vibration.
In other words, once the device is in position, you or your partner, can use an app downloaded onto your smartphone to control the type of vibration and the intensity.
The device connects to the internet so that, in theory, you can insert the device into your body, then allow your partner to remotely control your experience.
However, what most folks using this product don’t know is that the We-Vibe 4 Plus also uses its internet connection to send highly personal data about you to the manufacturer:
When the device is in use, the We-Vibe 4 Plus uses its internet connectivity to regularly send information back to its manufacturer, Standard Innovations Corporation. It sends the device’s temperature every minute, and lets the manufacturer know each time a user changes the device’s vibration level. The company could easily figure out some seriously intimate personal information like when you get off, how long it takes, and with what combinations of vibes.
When called on it, Standard Innovation Corporation’s president Frank Ferrari confirmed that the company collects this information, saying that the data is used for market research purposes to help the company understand what levels and settings are most enjoyable by their customer base.
If you happen to be the proud owner of a We-Vibe 4 Plus, just use your smartphone in airplane mode when controlling the unit. That’ll keep it from phoning home.
You may be wondering why I’m writing about this. I could have just included a link and a message saying “read this” on my blog if I just wanted to pass this stuff along.
The article contained YouTube videos highlighting the development of humanoid robots in Japan as well as a link to the CNET.com story called Can a robot mend a lonely heart. The latter described the current use of inflatable “sex dolls” and the possible future application of “smart” sex dolls, combining robot technology and artificial intelligence.
I just took it one step further in my “Perfect Woman” story by combining an artificial DNA-based intelligence with a completely realistic humanoid body that perfectly mimicked the personality and functioning of a human adult woman, with the “fembot” Akia at least simulating being in love with her human companion Max .
Now spin that a bit.
I can imagine there is a whole sub-culture of men (and for all I know, women) who are awaiting advancements in technology that would allow them to couple with a fairly realistic humanoid body, something that would do more than just “lie there”. Perhaps something that would even interact verbally as well as physically with the human “partner”.
But what if it operated something like the We-Vibe 4 Plus, that is, for whatever reason, maybe firmware updates, it had an internet connection, and during your use of the “device,” it too connected to the manufacturer and sent data about your erotic interactions with “her”. I can only imagine that the information collected would be much more explicit than what a computerized vibrator has access to.
Worse, this smartdoll would be among the collection of connected home and office devices referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), and there’s already plenty of concern about how IoT devices could be hacked and compromised.
When using a human prostitute, there’s always some risk of being infected by an STD, but with a smart sex doll, the device is the one catching a virus or some other form of malware. The very least that might happen is that a malicious entity on the web collects data on your sexual activities in addition to the manufacturer. That entity could also potentially take over your sex device while in use.
Come to think of it, the same thing might be possible with the We-Vibe 4 Plus right now. Your sexual experience could be in the hands of a complete stranger. It would be the most bizarre version of autoeroticism combined with a remote sexual interaction in the history of human sexuality.
The bright future of automated sexual innovation certainly has a very dark side to it. Maybe the moral of the story is to go old school if you use a machine for your sexual pleasure. A couple of batteries and three or four manual settings and you’re good to go, and no one can spy on your sexual activities unless you leave your bedroom curtains open.